I purchase grocery store chicken and boil it for chicken and dumplings, as well as to feed my dog. It has a strong chemical odor that doesn't go away in spite of seasonings, etc. How do I get rid of that odor? I tried soaking it in vinegar, but that didn't help.

  • 6
    When it doubt, throw it out. -- Food service maxim number 2.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Dec 28, 2013 at 23:15
  • 3
    Is this one chicken, or all the chickens you buy from that store? I've never experienced that kind of odor before; either it's coming from somewhere in your kitchen (cleaning solvents?), or you should probably involve the local health board...
    – Aaronut
    Dec 29, 2013 at 1:47
  • Do others also smell this odor? Dec 29, 2013 at 6:16
  • 3
    We once had a question about chicken smelling strongly of sulphur, and some answer suggested that there is a step in chicken processing which involves sulphur, but the traces of it are supposed to be neutralized in a later stage. Maybe the OP smelled sulphur too? The word "chemical" could be anything.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 29, 2013 at 17:13

3 Answers 3


I would identify the source of the smell before consuming it. That said, I would certainly not consume any product (or wear it for that matter) that had a strong chemical smell, even if I were able to identify it.

If it's a recurring issue, perhaps it's the allegedly benign carbon monoxide used at some of the bigger stores to preserve meat for lengthier shelf life. CO itself does not have an odor, but perhaps the meat develops a scent after being on the shelf that long. I prefer to go to a smaller food chain in my area that does not prepackage the meat. I would find another meat source. There is no reason to have to perform detective work prior to eating food you just paid for. I don't think anything you eat should have an uncertain and questionable smell or taste.


How long have you tried keeping the chicken in vinegar?

I would recommend keeping it in a mixture of curd and vinegar overnight because both of them help break down proteins in the food. I've tried this with tandoori chicken where I too had an offensive smell from the chicken every time I kept it marinated for a couple of hours 2-5). However, the last 2 times I marinated it overnight (almost 12 hours) and the smell is gone after that.


Try adding root ginger to the water.

  • 3
    Why would adding root ginger help beyond masking the chemical flavor? Perhaps you could expand on your suggestion.
    – tM --
    May 29, 2014 at 14:28

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